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Another title, Olympic qualification for New Zealand

SEVENS WRAP: New Zealand stamped their class as the top nation after winning the Singapore Sevens title fending off the resilient Argentinians 19-17 to cap off a weekend of intense rugby action at the National Stadium on Sunday.

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They are the two frontrunners in the race for qualification for next year’s Paris Olympics. so it was perhaps fitting that the final on Sunday was headlined by New Zealand and Argentina.

The Springbok Sevens team beat Ireland first up before losing to Spain for the first time in the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Sunday’s results mean the Blitzboks finished outside the top-10 in the Singapore Sevens, with the 12-5 defeat to Spain in the ninth-place semi-final at the National Stadium, robbing them of an opportunity to get more World Series points.

Kiwi Brady Rush scored the decisive try in the Cup final against Argentina as the All Blacks Sevens secured their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title in Singapore since 2005.

Samoa’s Cup semi-final defeat to Argentina meant the All Blacks Sevens were already assured of their place in Paris before taking the field for their last-four match against Fiji.

Buoyed by becoming the first men’s team other than hosts France to book their ticket to the Games, New Zealand won their semi-final 19-10 to set up a third gold medal match of the 2023 Series against Los Pumas Sevens.

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The teams’ 2023 Cup final head-to-head was tied at 1-1 going into the showpiece match in Singapore, but it was New Zealand who started fastest as they stormed into a 12-0 lead.

However, the All Blacks Sevens conceded a try to Joaquin Pellandini and then, with Dylan Collier in the sin-bin, allowed German Schulz to narrow that advantage to just two points.

Rush, though, capitalised on an errant Argentine lineout to stretch New Zealand’s lead beyond a converted try with less than six minutes left.

Los Pumas Sevens pushed hard for a third try but by the time it came, through Marcos Moneta, it had no impact on the result and the All Blacks Sevens could celebrate a second tournament title in as many weeks.

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Victory stretches New Zealand’s lead at the top of the standings to 24 points. With a maximum of 42 available in Toulouse and London, it means the All Blacks Sevens would tie up the overall Series title if they reach the Cup final in France next month.

Fiji recovered from going 19-7 behind to beat Samoa 24-19 and claim the bronze medal at the Singapore Sports Hub.

Samoa had beaten Fiji 28-7 on day one and looked set to win a first Series bronze medal final since Port Elizabeth in December 2013 as Vaa Apelu Maliko helped inspire his side into a 12-point lead.

However, tries from Iowane Teba and Joseva Talacolo levelled the scores before Tuna Tuitama received a late yellow card and Terio Tamani Veilawa took full advantage, scoring his second try of the match to confirm victory for Fiji.

The result maintains Fiji’s slim hopes of winning the overall Series title while Samoa – who have now lost 10 successive Series bronze medal finals – are one point and a place outside of the Olympic qualification spots.

Australia secured a 24-21 fifth-place play-off victory against Great Britain to ensure they occupy the fourth and final Olympic qualification place with two tournaments to play.

John Manenti’s side lost to Argentina in the Cup quarter-finals but recovered to beat Uruguay and set up an encounter with Great Britain, who gained revenge for defeat to France in the bronze medal final last weekend by beating Les Bleus Sevens in the fifth-place semi-final.

Australia led the fifth-place play-off from the third minute and Dietrich Roache was the star of the show as he notched a try, two conversions and assisted the first of Darby Lancaster’s two touchdowns.

Spain will head to Toulouse a point from safety after tries from Nicolas Nieto, Jaime Mata, Manu Moreno and Alejandro Laforgo gave them a 26-10 ninth-place play-off win against Kenya.

Having missed out on the Cup quarter-finals, Los Leones Sevens won all three matches on day two – beating the USA and South Africa to set up one final match against Kenya.

Two tries in each half completed a perfect second day and ensured they will line up in Toulouse on 48 points, a point behind 11th-placed Uruguay in the standings and a spot in the 2024 Series.

Perry Baker was the hero for the USA, scoring in the final play of the 13th-place play-off to hand his side a 22-17 win against Canada.

The Eagles Sevens were heading towards a third defeat in Singapore until Baker emerged from the bench to score two late tries and stretch the USA’s Series winning streak against their North American rivals to eight matches.

Results:

Quarter-finals:
Canada 14 – 28 Kenya
Japan 21 – 5 Hong Kong China
Usa 10 – 22 Spain
South Africa 12 – 5 Ireland
Samoa 22 – 7 Uruguay
Argentina 29 – 12 Australia
France 21 – 33 Fiji
New Zealand 22 – 10 Great Britain

Semi-finals:
Canada 26 – 5 Hong Kong China
Usa 26 – 12 Ireland
Kenya 40 – 7 Japan
Spain 12 – 5 South Africa
Uruguay 12 – 31 Australia
France 12 – 17 Great Britain
Samoa 19 – 24 Argentina
Fiji 10 – 19 New Zealand

13th Place: Canada 17 – 22 USA
9th Place: Kenya 10 – 26 Spain
5th Place: Australia 24 – 21 Great Britain

Bronze medal: Samoa 19 – 24 Fiji
Cup final: Argentina 17 – 19 New Zealand

Source: @WorldRugby

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